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Post allowance went up in most of Germany and parts of Spain and Portugal on Sunday at the same time it went down in most of Italy.

As weak as the dollar has been against the euro, currency fluctuations were not responsible for the changes in Italy and Germany, according to a biweekly update memo posted on the U.S. State Department’s Office of Allowances Web site. Instead, new survey data from Frankfurt and Naples caused the changes, according to the State Department.

Exactly what those surveys covered wasn’t mentioned in the memo, and officials at the Office of Allowances could not be reached for comment.

The allowance, designed to reimburse eligible employees for certain excess costs they encounter as a result of their overseas employment, can be adjusted as often as every two weeks and varies by location.

At German locales where the supplement has increased, including Kaiserslautern, Grafenwöhr, Heidelberg and Wiesbaden, post allowance will boost the paychecks of the lowest-paid employees with no dependents by about $2.25 more a day.

The highest paid with the most dependents will see their supplement leap by about $12.45 a day.

The allowance increased by the same amount in Rota, Spain, and by a smaller margin in Portugal’s Azores, although currency fluctuations were responsible in both locales, according to the memo.

In Italy, though, the allowance has fallen by more than it’s risen in Germany. In most parts of the country — including Naples, Vicenza and Aviano — those lowest on the pay ladder will see about $2.80 less per day in their next paycheck. Those on the top rung will see about $15.56 less per day.

For the most part, the drop in Italy and rise in Germany means U.S. employees are now paid post allowance at the same rate — at least near U.S. military posts.

That knowledge won’t do much to soothe the wallets of those on the losing end.

“I would say that’s pretty bad,” said Jim Miller, upon hearing his post allowance had decreased. Miller, who has taught at Aviano Elementary School since 1999, said the declining dollar had already affected his buying habits, and he now shops off base less often.

But sometimes, said Jeff Maxwell, a Department of Defense civilian employee at Aviano Air Base, people don’t have a choice but to shop at Italian stores.

“There are some things you can’t get on base,” Maxwell said. “It doesn’t bother me, as long as the post allowance is up there.”

When he heard the allowance had dropped for civilians at Aviano, he wasn’t upset. “I’m laughing,” he said. “That’s my reaction.”

“There’s nothing I can do about it,” said Maxwell. “But I don’t understand how they base it.”

Post allowance rates in the United Kingdom, Belgium, Luxemburg and the Netherlands — locales where troop COLA went up anywhere from 4 percent to 14 percent Aug. 1 — were flat in most cities.

For more information on the post allowance and the newest rates, visit the State Department’s allowance Web site at: http://www.state.gov/rates/by_location.asp.

Stars and Stripes reporter Kent Harris contributed to this report.

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